I feel shaken and stirred. Ten days in Austin during South by Southwest could do that to stronger constitutions than my own. Twenty-five years ago, the festival was pitched to bars in Austin as a way to fill their barstools while University of Texas students were out on Spring Break. That pitch worked so well, the entire city is now filled to capacity every spring.
It’s a heady experience, where each street seems to have a different soundtrack, food carts offer up endless amounts of tacos and the streets are filled with dancing and drinking.
It’s become the mecca for technology companies looking for Twitter-like success, bands hoping for a break and filmmakers pitching their wares. This year a new term was coined — FOMO, or fear of missing out. There was just so much going on, a girl could hardly know which way to turn her head.
Thankfully, there are plenty of roundups to catch me up on all I did miss out on. And plenty of ways for those not in Texas to see what the chatter was all about.
What came out of it all? You all should be on a group messaging system; Kanye West had a sort-of secret show, but it was not as impressive as the crowd-friendly Strokes; and one of the biggest stars of the festival came from an unlikely source: the beleaguered NPR station. With three shows in Austin, and plenty of live shows streamed online, NPR Music made sure the South knew the Web site was a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.
“Forget the totes — NPR has a brand new bag,” The Post's Chris Richards wrote. “The Washington-based news outlet has emerged as an influential powerhouse in a splintering music industry thanks to the growing popularity of NPR Music, a Web site that has connected with music fans by premiering new albums, streaming live concerts and landing exclusive interviews.”
Check out NPR’s full coverage of the show here. The Guardian also dedicated a healthy amount of staffing to round up the show. And Amazon offered up a musical preview that can be downloaded free. Here are a couple of the bands that turned my ear in Austin:
(Full disclosure: it turns out my brother-in-law made the following music video, but I had never seen it until I went hunting for this song. I know. I’m a bad sister-in-law.)